Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Trump:Russia = Bloomberg:China!

In each of the past two years, his company (Bloomberg LP) has hosted a conference highlighting China’s growing and indispensable role in the new world economy, and last year, the gathering was held in Beijing. Bloomberg has defended the Chinese Communist Party as quasi-democratic (“they listen to the public”) and when asked whether President Xi Jinping is a dictator, answered, “No, he has a constituency to answer to.” –  Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect, “Why Bloomberg Can’t Beat Trump.”
Does every dictator on the planet want to buy our government?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Trump:Russia = Bloomberg:China?

My story shows the lengths that the Bloomberg machine will go to in order to avoid offending Beijing. Bloomberg’s company, Bloomberg LP, is so dependent on the vast China market for its business that its lawyers threatened to devastate my family financially if I didn’t sign an NDA silencing me about how Bloomberg News killed a story critical of Chinese Communist Party leaders. – Dr. Leta Hong Fincher, The Intercept, When Bloomberg News’s Reporting on China Was Challenged, Bloomberg Tried to Ruin Me for Speaking Out, February 18 2020.
Caution: this is The Intercept and Snowden's lawyers are involved. But the author is taking considerable risk in publishing this, and therefore I think it is probably true.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Thinking About Bloomberg As Candidate And President

The man is an appallingly ignorant racist and sexist. But he’s a well-heeled light-skinned media mogul with a good feeling for popular opinion. He’s got a chance.

He’s probably not a traitor. As a not-very-observant Jew (and won’t the antisemites have a field day with that) he is at least not an antisemite. But I don’t see him reforming ICE, should he be elected. He probably won’t divest. I don’t see him raising his own taxes. (I wonder if he’ll publish his tax returns.) I don’t see him fixing the courts, or the banks, He probably would allow the ACA to stand. His environmentalism is likely to come into conflict with his support for big money. If we can flip the Senate, we might get some decent policies through, but we’re going to have to fight for them.

End of the Reconstruction, back to the Gilded Age.

Oh, well. At least he’s not Trump.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Sanders, the Holocaust, Racism

(Updated on 2/14/20 with information about Sanders family in Europe. See also Talia Lavin's article from that date, “To Dream of a Jewish President.”) 
 Every Jew born in the United States before 1950 is a descendant of refugees. Jews came to the Americas very early on, and even supported the American revolution, as refugees from millennium-old oppression in Europe.
Sanders’ father, Eli Sanders, came from SÅ‚opnice, Galicia, in central Europe. One of his brothers also emigrated. Sanders’ mother, Dorothy Sanders, was the children of Jewish immigrants from Poland and Russia.
Galicia was once a center of Jewish culture in Europe. According to the Wikipedia article on Galician Jews, in 1938 there were some 3.31 million Jews in Galicia, many of them refugees from Poland. In 1959, there were only 29,701 Jews left. The ones that were not killed by the Germans in their Final Solution emigrated to Israel.
Half of the Holocaust was carried out in Galicia.
Eli Sanders had a brother who came with him, and a brother and a sister who stayed behind. There was a cousin and other family. A 2015 Margaret Talbot New Yorker article offers the following on Sanders background in Europe: “Sanders told me that, in the aftermath of the Second World War, his family ‘got a call in the middle of the night about some relative of my father’s, who was in a displaced-persons camp in Europe someplace.’ Sanders learned that many of his father’s other relatives had perished.”
Not only were most of Sanders relatives in Europe killed, likely most of the Jews that the Sanders brothers knew in Galicia was killed. Bernard Sanders and his father and uncle, though themselves spared, were brushed by the wings of malakh ha-mavet.
My editor offers their own family reminiscence:
I am reminded of my father counting on his fingers all the immediate family of his that was killed.  I think he could get to 30 without even trying. He had two grandmothers, they got out before they were interned. Both his grandfathers died first, the maternal one during kristallnacht.
He had one aunt on his father’s side and an uncle on his mothers, with two cousins descended from them. His other relatives were “Uncle Victor” (three degrees) and Victor’s son who was a pederast. And his cousin who died in Florida some time ago and her father.  He was his father’s second cousin once removed.
That’s all that survived of the family.
The closest parallel I can think of in US history might be the freed child of slaves during the Reconstruction. The extended family – aunts, uncles, and cousins – likely survived, but would mostly have been sold away.
Saying that the Holocaust had no impact on Sanders and his family because his immediate family did not die in it is like saying that slavery has no effect on the children of freed slaves. It is exactly the excuse that white people give to reject reparations or, indeed, any attempt to rectify anti-black racism. I don’t ever want to hear again that Sanders has had no experience of racism.
Antisemitism lives.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A Few Notes on the SOTU Speech

Ack-phhhht-gack!
(Now that I've got that over with.)
  Lots of fascist stuff. I think Stephen Miller and his Nazi friends were major contributors to the speech.
  Trump refused to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand at the beginning. AOC did not attend. Democrats were walking out throughout the speech. Fred Guttenberg shouted something when Trump started talking about the Second Amendment and was removed by the Capitol Police. At the end, Pelosi tore up her copy of the speech.
  I would really like to hear someone with a big platform say point-blank that Trump is a fascist, he has fascists in his administration, and he does not belong in office.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

On Uber and the TNCs, on our sister blog

I was going to write a post critical of Uber and the other transportation network companies (TNCs), but I have so much material and didn't want to spend all the time needed to make a thorough job of it. Instead, I wrote a short summary, listing my criticisms and citing links. It's over here, under the title Uber/Unter.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Give the South to African-Americans

A few days ago, I snarkily tweeted, “Give the southern states to African-Americans as part of reparations.” I was not proposing a separate African-American republic, but Doug1943 took my remark that way and commented that this was a 1930s Comintern position. I did not know that, but it turns out to be true. An extended history of the matter, “The Communist Party and Black Liberation in the 1930s” with a map, even, was published in the now-defunct International Socialist Review in 1997. (That archive may not last. If you care about such things, download a copy.) The idea of a black country, which turns out to be called black separatism, was not only a Communist one. It has a long history and survives to this day as part of the ideology of the Nation of Islam. The broader idea of black nationalism – that African-Americans ought to see themselves as one people, and organize to support each other – has a history that goes to the founding of the USA and, in some sense, is part of the thinking of most African-Americans.
Doug goes on to object to what he calls “identity politics,” complains it is a destructive project, and goes on to complain that the left is using it to attack patriotism. To which I say that most powerful identity politics in the USA has always been white identity politics, that it has been present in the USA from the very beginning, and that what the left can do and say has been nowhere near as destructive of US patriotism than white supremacism and the treason of the Republican Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Trump, all strongly supported by their party.
So, back to the South.
My original remark was sarcasm, but I would like to take it seriously, at least for the purposes of this post. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the current leading advocate of reparations (his 2014 article in The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” is important, and you should read it) argues for financial compensation for acts against African-Americans. There are fortunes and estates in the South surviving from the times of slavery. These could be confiscated and offered to African-Americans. It would be difficult. There would be enormous practical problems with doing so – who gets this property, who administers this property? Coates addresses some of these in a subsequent article, “The Radical Practicality of Reparations” but it would not be an easy project.
The project also raises broader questions. If African-Americans are owed reparations, what about Native Americans? What reparation even is possible to Natives? So much of history is expropriation of one people’s land by another people. So many peoples have claims and counterclaims. Still, studying the question and proposing solutions would be worthwhile. If the whole of the injustice cannot be remedied, which I think is probably the case, what remedies are possible?